HC Deb 10 March 1908 vol 185 cc1319-20
MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the remarks at a recent prosecution in Ballintubber, County Roscommon, made by Mr. Rice, resident magistrate, to the effect that, in any other country but Ireland, a man situated in the position of one of the witnesses would have drawn firearms on the crowd, and of the protest made on the occasion by the defendant's solicitor against such an incitement to a breach of the law made from the bench; and whether, under the circumstances, he will direct that this magistrate be not permitted in future to adjudicate in cases of this description.


I have referred this Question to the resident magistrate mentioned, who informs me that his remarks are not quite correctly stated in the Question. A case was being heard in which five men were summoned by the police to give sureties to keep the peace. The evidence showed that these-men formed part of a crowd of about thirty persons who pursued the occupier of a grazing farm along the public road for almost a mile, yelling, screaming, booing and blowing horns at him. The police who were protecting the man were obliged to surround him in order to protect him from the violence of the crowd. In calling on the defendants to find sureties to keep the peace, Mr. Rice remarked that in many countries, a man so attacked would be tempted to use force and even firearms to protect himself, and that it showed wonderful forbearance on the man's part to have put up with it for so long. The Government do not propose to take any action, in the matter.


Is not that exactly the same advice as the right hon. Gentleman himself gave to the House?


No, Sir; it is not. [Cries of "Very nearly."]